Didi Edet is a life coach and matchmaker. She is also a statistician with the National Bureau of Statistics, Nexim bank and the Debt Management office. She is passionate about building strong relationships via matchmaking. This passion which started with friends and close allies metamorphosed into a full fledge business which has won her a number of awards and recognitions.
In this encounter with YETUNDE OLADEINDE, she talked about her passion, inspiration and the business side of matchmaking.
What inspired you to go into this aspect of life?
The platform was created to match single individuals above 25 years but with a huge focus on privacy. I did take a couple of courses in a bid to get certified to be more knowledgeable in this area of expertise.
What is the difference between online dating and using a matchmaking platform?
A matchmaking platform comes with support that an online service might not be able to provide. The platform works manually too and so you do get to communicate with actual humans and it is a totally different experience. These are people that can give you their perspective on things and not an automated service.
What expectations do your clients have with meeting other single individuals?
They do expect the best. Interestingly, some expectations are reasonable and some are so out there which is what we call the search for the unicorn. With the new age and availability of options, people don’t put it as much efforts to get to know a person and at the slightest view of imperfection, the person wants to move on to the next single individual. The process involves us being transparent and clear on giving dating advice to the clients.
What are some of the challenges doing this?
I have encountered a lot of challenges. The fact that matchmaking is fairly new to Nigeria in the business sector means there is no blue print or previous marketing plan to follow.
This was a major challenge, trying to learn how to market and educate the mass about what we do and the process. We are privacy focused and that is why we have to explain to clients that we don’t have pictures posted of individuals. Things are done manually which doesn’t make the process as efficient. But it actually leads to better results and we are highly focused on the results.
One of the major challenges was getting good staff. It took about a year to find the perfect people, who have the skills and understand the job. All we did was to get them a little bit of training and it’s been a blessing to have people who genuinely care about the clients like I do.
Another major challenge is explaining to people what we do. Some people think we give relationship advice which is not what we do. We focus on the dating aspect of life because this is an area I have been certified in and also as a single individual dating, things in this aspect are fresher to my understanding. We focus on linking individuals together and that’s basically it.
Why are interested in the manual strategy in your process instead of automated like others?
For us, being automated like everyone would definitely be less work for us. I would not even need as much staff in an automated service but we found out after moving from automated back to manual that our results were higher. It’s just different when you can communicate with a person that talks to you through the process and tries to understand the difference between what you want and what you need.
The manual process allows you to be with a friend introducing you to our other friends and rooting for it to work out.
What are the types of people on the platform?
We have a huge variety of people from various locations and various status. We have singles that have never been married, divorced, widowed and more. Our client base can be described as the working class, people that may not have a lot of time for social activities. So, what they have done is to outsource a part of their social life to us.
Do your clients see pictures of people the people they are being matched with before meeting them?
Our platform is privacy focused so this means privacy is our highest priority. We don’t circulate or post pictures of members. However, we can exchange pictures of members with the permission of that party. We have had a lot of successful matches with this formula so we know it’s something that works for us.
Will I have unlimited number of people to meet when I sign up?
No, you will have a fixed number based on your membership level and this was done to make people take their matches seriously because in a situation where you have unlimited matches, we have seen people abuse that by finding little excuses not to give the person a chance. Usually, this is because they feel there are a million more at their beck and call, so they are not as intentional with their choices.
Is this strictly online?
No, we have an office located in the heart of Lekki and it’s open for enquiries but we do find that majority of our client base are busy. So, we are more efficient with the online network and it works faster that way.
What advice would you give to singles out there?
I feel everything you want in life can be achieved if we put effort in it. If you want a job, you get qualifications and make the effort to apply for it. I feel effort should be applied to dating too as opposed to sitting and hoping for things to magically fall in place, I feel if you want love, put the effort to search for it. We are here to make that an easy process.
We do not divulge into the relationship aspect which is a bit more broad. We focus on meeting an individual, having a first and second date.
Why did you go into matchmaking?
Lagosmatchmaker is a privacy focused matchmaking platform for like-minded individuals and was birthed out of the need for privacy in certain aspects of our lives like dating. A lot of my friends I spoke to wanted to be able to search for a date without leading with who they are.
In this age of Internet fraud, how can one trust online matchmaking?
I don’t think there is any worry with internet fraud with us because it’s not strictly an online matching platform. We do have an office located off Admiralty way, Lekki, Lagos where clients can come in and have a discussion about the process, if they so wish. But we discovered that a lot of people don’t have the time which is why a lot of our work is done online.
Who qualifies to consult a matchmaker?
Anyone with a busy schedule can consult a matchmaker. I always say, it’s the same as outsourcing things like cleaning or cooking because you don’t have the time to do those things yourself. The same way matchmaking is a service that helps the busy people who have little or no time to socialize and meet someone at their convenience.
Why are men shying away from making the first move these days?
I would not say men are shying away from making the first move. Men for decades have been told they alone could make the first move but in this new era, women are now able to make the first move, so you might find an increase in the number of women searching for a man. Of course, it is new and it’s effective than having to choose a spouse out of just the ones that choose you. These days, you can make a choice rather than choosing from your available options.
How should a woman react if she loves a man but feels the man should make the first move?
I would tell that lady to make the move herself because I do believe in communicating what you feel as opposed to being quiet and hoping in some magical way, he should know how you feel about him.
What are those things that should be put into consideration before going into marriage or a long term relationship?
I stay on the dating aspect of life not the relationship aspect, this is because I am exploring that aspect myself. Relationships are too broad to try to understand, so I rarely go into actual relationship discussions or advice.
What are the types of clients you have on the platform?
We have a huge variety of clients from the never married, divorced, single parents, those that lost their spouse and more.
In terms of reasons, we do have extremely busy clients that don’t have the time for a social life. We also have clients who just want the additional help with their dating life. We are the people you outsource your dating life too.
The minimum age on the platform is 25yrs. We have currently had an increase in the number of older clients that have signed up. We have a lot of females ages 40 to 55 and males ages 45 to 65. We aim to help everyone find that happiness that comes with companionship.